The Long Island Rail Road on Friday announced a $40 million project to renovate its aging Massapequa station and boost the number of trains serving the morning commute.
At a news conference at the station, LIRR President Helena Williams joined several state and local elected officials to unveil the project, expected to be completed by 2015.
"The station is due for a face-lift," Williams said. "The outlined improvements here will not only be an investment in the long term, but it will give us benefits now."
The station was rebuilt as an elevated structure in 1953. The LIRR will replace the platform, canopy, platform waiting room, public address system, signs and the staircases, elevator and escalator.
The station's existing escalator, installed in 1980, is the oldest in the LIRR system.
Half of the $40 million will go toward building a pocket track between the existing tracks. The pocket track will allow more trains to start out of the station -- increasing train frequency and giving riders a better chance of getting a seat in the morning.
Massapequa is one of the most heavily used stations on the Babylon line, the LIRR's busiest, serving 17.4 million customers last year.
"Forty million dollars in one community is tremendous. It really is," Fuschillo said. "The commuters deserve this."
The money for the project is coming out of the LIRR's 2010-14 capital program, which is used to fund infrastructure improvements.
Although some riders were surprised by the project's high price tag, they welcomed cosmetic improvements to the station, where chipped paint covers the platform canopy and the waiting room is dingy and often smelly.
"It's disgusting," said Chelsea Broderick, 21, of Massapequa, as she waited for a train at the station. "I try to avoid it even when it's cold out."